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Fortinet Australian PGA Championship & Joburg Open - Five things to know 

Fortinet Australian PGA Championship & Joburg Open - Five things to know 

The 2023 DP World Tour season begins this week with concurrent events in Australia and South Africa, as the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and Joburg Open mark the start of the season-long Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex. Here are your five things to know.

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One campaign, two continents

Just days on from the end of the 2022 DP World Tour season in Dubai, where Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm celebrated individual success, a new campaign begins across two continents – marking the start of another truly global season that will see the DP World Tour play a minimum of 39 tournaments in 26 different countries. The Fortinet Australian PGA Championship in Brisbane is the first of back to back Australian events co-sanctioned with the ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia. The Joburg Open, meanwhile, is the first of a run of four tournaments co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour and one of six DP World Tour events in South Africa this season.

Lawrence defends at new venue

After a memorable campaign last year in which he won twice, Thriston Lawrence will be eager to make a strong start in his homeland as he defends his Joburg Open title. The 25-year-old became the first winner of the DP World Tour era with his success at this event last year, which was reduced to 36 holes due to increasingly inclement weather around Randpark Golf Club. After a season in which he also made his Major debut at the 150th Open and climbed inside the top 100 on the Official World Golf Ranking, Lawrence will now defend his title at a new Johannesburg venue, Houghton Golf Club.

Scott among headline acts as he targets Australian PGA Championship hat-trick

Former World Number One Adam Scott is one the headline acts at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship. The 42-year-old has not played on home soil in three years and arrives in Queensland targeting his third Australian PGA Championship title. He first won the event in 2013 – when it was held at Royal Pines – before repeating the feat six years later at Royal Queensland Golf Club, the last time the event was part of the DP World Tour schedule. The current defending champion is fellow Australian Jediah Morgan, who produced a record-breaking 11-shot win in January. New Zealander Ryan Fox, fresh from finishing runner-up to Rory McIlroy in the 2022 season-long rankings, will be looking to produce some of the form that saw him win twice and record a further eight top ten finishes as he moved into the top 50 in the world.

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Open Championship spots up for grabs in South Africa

The road to The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool begins this week in South Africa, with three places up for grabs as part of The Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players, not already exempt, who make the cut at the Joburg Open will earn places in The Open from 16-23 July 2023. Last year, South African pair Lawrence and Zander Lombard along with England’s Ashley Chesters earned their places in the oldest golf tournament in the world. The Open Qualifying Series continues at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open at Victoria and Kingston Heath from December 1-4.

Kimsey among Challenge Tour Graduates looking to make their mark

After a two-week break since the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final supported by The R&A, all 20 of last season’s Challenge Tour graduates will make the step-up to the DP World Tour. Nathan Kimsey finished top of the Road to Mallorca Rankings after securing his second victory of the season at the Grand Final earlier this month. The Englishman, who became the 11th English Challenge Tour Number One and first since Jordan Smith in 2016, will have the honour of hitting the opening tee shot at the Joburg Open. Countryman Matthew Baldwin is another player making his return to the DP World Tour in South Africa, while Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibben will be looking to make an early impression after eight top-ten finishes on the Challenge Tour last season.

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